No, this isn’t me slipping into a cover of “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother.” I’m starting to crank through another round of revision on the finished novel manuscript. There are people who save every separate draft in a different Word document so they can clearly tell you, “I wrote fifty-seven drafts of my novel before it was finished.” I’m just like that. My number is a-whole-heckuva-lot. How’s that for precise?
And today began “a-whole-heckuva-lot plus one.” Since work on the new manuscript has bogged down, and since I got some great feedback from a friend, I figured it was time to go back to revising. And, like love, it hurts. It scars. It wounds. And mars.
But while the road to Final Draftland is long and not clearly marked by yellow bricks and Munchkins, revisiting a draft after many moons has some advantages. I’m seeing things in a fresh light. I’m suddenly taking a jackhammer to phrases that I’d committed to memory and locked in place. When it comes to tightening and trimming the fat, time apart is a wonderful thing. I read my stuff with a more objective eye. Even while I haven’t been spending time with my characters, I’ve been thinking about them. I’m ruthless with their motivations and actions. The narrative becomes more streamlined. A few more weeks of this and I’ll be unstoppable. UNSTOPPABLE! Mwahahahahaha!!!!!!!
(One other thing: revising is also a bit like being in a padded room. But I don’t type in a straightjacket. Yet.)